The Finnish Defense Forces (FDF) began looking for a precision rifle to replace its aging fleet of M28 Mosin Nagants in the 1970s. In a country with several renowned manufacturers—Sako, Tikka and Valmet, to name a few—many thought the search would be a short one. It was not.
The primary focus of Finland’s famed gun makers, at the time, was civilian offerings. Selling high-end firearms to the nation’s military, after all, isn’t exactly a lucrative market. Fit males must serve in the country’s uniform for a year, but even today, that accounts for only 32,000 men coming of age. Women can volunteer, but the number is about same. Their duty requirement of just less than a year is also hardly enough time to finely polish long-distance skills. With roughly 25,000 career military members in the nation, it was hard to justify the research and tooling expense when only the elite marksmen among them would be issued the rifle.
Valmet, however, attempted to answer the government’s original call for a semi-automatic version in the late 1970s. The project proved unsuccessful and was shelved. In 1984, however, it began work with the military to design a bolt-action precision rifle that met all the requirements. Two years later the effort paid off with the introduction of the .308 Win.-chambered M86. Fewer than 200 were made.
Sako and Valmet merged in 1986, curtailing any subsequent M86 sales to Finland’s military. Three years later, however, the company’s engineers were tasked with combining the best features of that short-lived M86 with Sako’s extremely popular line of bolt-action target rifles.
The TRG-21 and TRG-41—chambered in .308 Win. and .300 Win. Mag. (and .338 Lapua Mag.), respectively—resulted from that effort. They rolled out of the factory in 1989, and it was a big departure for Sako when the bolt included three-lugs rather than the Mauser-style, two-lug version the company traditionally employed.
The Sako TRG line has been a huge success since then, fielded by a variety of military forces across the globe, including Finland. The company's TRG 22A1 series is commercially available today in five different variants. Chambering options include 6.5 mm Creedmoor, .260 Rem., .308 Win., .300 Win. Mag. and .338 Lapua Mag. Rifles ship with detachable magazines, and capacities run from five to 10 rounds, depending on chamber specification.
Standard features throughout the line include a 60-degree bolt throw for faster cycling, cold-hammer-forged action frame, fully adjustable stock and much more. The TRG M10 is the lineup’s ultimate. It’s available in .308 Win., .300 Win. Mag. and .338 Lapua Mag. and the receiver, like all other versions, features a Picatinny rail. Barrel lengths run 20", 25.8" and 27 1/8", respectively.
Some of Finland’s finest came together in creating the Sako TRG line. When that subtle combination of Sako’s match-winning performance combined with the military reliability and versatility of Valmet, it resulted in the kind of precision rifle that continues to prove itself on battlefields—including Ukraine. The company, however, has never lost sight of the civilian market. Variants are commercially available chambered in 6.5 mm Creedmoor, .260 Rem. and .308 Win. with an MSRP of $6,400. If you prefer .300 Win. Mag or .338 Lapua Mag., the price is $7,400.